MTMUA touts benefits of solar power array

MARLBORO — The Marlboro Township Municipal Utilities Authority (MTMUA) has deployed a new 900-kilowatt solar power array from Sharp that will enable the MTMUA to meet nearly 40 percent of its electricity needs with emissionsfree solar-generated power.

At a ceremony held last week, Mayor Jonathan Hornik joined with MTMUA Executive Director Peter Wersinger, MTMUA Chairman Michael Messinger and the other commissioners and staff of the MTMUA in dedicating the array, which is one of the largest of its kind in the East.

Sited on 3 acres owned by the MTMUA and Marlboro on Tennent Road, this solar energy system, comprised of 4,186 Sharp solar modules, was designed by Advanced Solar Products Inc., Ringoes, and installed by Barrier Electric Company Inc., Bayonne, according to a press release.

“We are thrilled to be deploying a significant solar array to power our water treatment and distribution operations; and pleased that it will be cash-flow positive from day one,” said Wersinger. “Based on the terrific performance of this photovoltaic (PV) energy system, the MTMUA is looking to expand its use of solar power in the months ahead.”

Wersinger and his staff, working in conjunction with Ray Bhatia of CMX Engineering, the MTMUA’s consulting engineer, and Cassandra Kling of Infinite Energy Co., the authority’s solar energy consultant, completed the project ahead of schedule and under budget by more than $1 million, according to the press release.

“This renewable power source will serve as a stabilizing component in the cost of water service, which will assist the MTMUA in maintaining one of the lowest rate structures in Monmouth County,” said Messinger.

He added that, “from the providers and installers of solar products, to the electricians who connected and wired the installations, to the metal fitters who fabricated the mounting system right here in New Jersey, this clean energy project is delivering local and regional economic development benefits. Projects such as this one are helping New Jersey achieve its long-term goal of energy independence and building a strong clean tech economy.”

“Advanced Solar Products is very proud to have engineered and supervised the construction of this ambitious solar project,” said ASP President Lyle Rawlings. “This is a milestone for cleaner air and for building the green-collar workforce in New Jersey.”

“Sharp is pleased to be helping Marlboro achieve its sustainability energy goals,” said Ron Kenedi, vice president of Sharp Solar Energy Solutions Group. “Clean tech projects such as this one are not only healthy for our environment – they’re healthy for our economy.”

According to the press release, the PV system is accruing economic and environmental benefits. It will generate more than 1.3 million kilowatt hours of clean electric power each year, meeting nearly 40 percent of the MTMUA’s power needs. It will generate annual revenues and avoided power costs of $775,000 to $900,000, resulting in net average yearly savings of $300,000 to $400,000 to the authority.

(Amortizing to an overall utility cost saving of more than $4 million during the first 15 years of the solar power system’s operation, and approximately $9 million in cost savings over 25 years.)

Additionally, on an annual basis, this solar energy system will reduce New Jersey CO2 emissions by more than 4,200,000 pounds; SO2 emissions by 28,000 pounds; and NO2 emissions by 18,000 pounds, as well as eliminating significant amounts of mercury. The solar power system was completed and placed into operation earlier this spring, according to the press release.